Destinations never seem at their best after a long overnight flight - London to Dar es Salaam. But soon that's forgotten as I arrive on Zanzibar, off the Tanzanian coast for half a day's acclimatisation. Here I meet Jason Rubens and Amani Ngusaru, two WWF marine staff from the Tanzania office. Visiting a spice garden, we see that this is a productive island, with a history of riches from the spice trade, tainted by its participation in slavery. There are historic ruins, but it has clearly seen better days. Quite a good way to spend a Sunday, combining relaxation with familiarisation.
Hermann Mwageni, head of WWF Tanzania, travels with me to Ruaha National Park in the centre of the country, where one of our freshwater programmes is based. The park covers a huge area - perhaps the equivalent of a couple of English counties, with no fences anywhere so the animals are free to roam. We see elephant, giraffe, zebra, lions, hippo, crocodile, dik dik (a small antelope), a 30-minute old impala and its mother, warthog, jackal, and countless birds. This wildlife wouldn't be here without the river which brings life to the park, and we'll be seeing much more of that tomorrow.
The three projects on David's itinerary cover a wide diversity of work that WWF is supporting in Tanzania:
- The Ruaha River freshwater project in the Ruaha National Park, the Usangu wetlands and the Ruaha river basin;
- The Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa Seascape marine project, working towards joint management of marine and coastal resources with local community groups; and
- The Matumbi-Kichi Hills coastal forest project - one of numerous coastal forest sites in Tanzania where WWF is helping rural farmers to make a living by sustainably utilising and managing their village forest areas.
If you would like to support these or any other WWF projects, please donate now